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Mindfulness

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Mindfulness is a technique to assist you to live in the present moment, rather than regretting what may have happened in the pass or worrying about future events. Being present or attentive during a conversation, and or an activity can enhance the beauty and joy of the moment without judgment.

Meditation, yoga, dance or just sitting still are just a few activities that can assist you to become more mindful to the present moment. The goal is to connect to your present surroundings and acknowledge your emotions and feelings without labeling them as good or bad.

When was the last time you had a conversation with someone and you gave them your complete attention without engaging in another activity or thought during the conversation? We all have been programed to be ready with a response. It is very rare that we give our full attention to anything, even a short conversation.

It will take practice, but try to give your full attention to someone you are having a conversation with and notice how different it feels to be fully engaged and focused on the person you are listening to. This practice is not as easy as it seems.

There are structured mindfulness practices available to assist you in becoming more mindful. Check out the link below to listen to a few Mindful Moments, presented by Saybrook University to help you restore your well being during the day, and practice mindfulness.

References

Mindful Moments. https://www.saybrook.edu/mindfulness-moments/

Mindfulness, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/mindfulness

Featured

World Mental Health Day

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It was World Mental Health Day, on October 10, 2021. Personally, I think we need a whole month to reset. There is so much going on, and if you do not take time to unplug you may feel over whelmed and depressed.

There are a few things you can do to ensure you stay balanced, and well. Get enough sleep, without adequate sleep your body can not regenerate, and you are cranky.

Enjoy nature, and go for a walk, or ride your bike.

Interact with others, some of us have been isolated for so long that we need some physical interaction with other adults. Don’t forget to wear your mask, if you have not been vaccinated.

Find an activity or craft that you enjoy. I exercise, and it is a great way to increase your stamina and well being. I have a friend who builds bird houses, and another who loves to work in the garden.

Take a drive and enjoy the scenery. I have been taking short week-end trips to re-energize, it will change your outlook. Hint: leave your laptop at home.

If these things do not work, you may need to talk to a professional, especially if you have had suicidal thoughts, or feeling depressed for extended periods.

Therapist are now online. Here are a few links for your review. I can not validate the services but these links can help you get you started. https://www.betterhelp.com/get-started/

https://www.top10.com/online-therapy

Stay well and unplug, your mental health depends on it!

Roe vs Wade

The word is out, this 50-year-old law maybe disbanded this summer by the Supreme Court, after a leaked memo. One side is upset about the leak and happy about the ruling and others are extremely upset.

Roe v. Wade was a landmark legal decision issued on January 22, 1973, in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas statute banning abortion, effectively legalizing the procedure across the United States. The court held that a woman’s right to an abortion was implicit in the right to privacy protected by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Prior to Roe v. Wade, abortion had been illegal throughout much of the country since the late 19th century. Since the 1973 ruling, many states have imposed restrictions on abortion rights. (https://www.history.com/topics/womens-rights/roe-v-wade).

Personally, I am tired of women crying about this issue. We act like we do not have any power to do anything about issues that affect our well-being. Until women get serious about issues that affect them, nothing will happen. The women in the US need to take lessons from the women in Iceland and other Nordic countries who have achieved gender equality in their tiny nation. The United States cannot seem to get pass racial biases so gender equality will be slow to achieve.

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Please get it together. We had a chance to vote for a qualified women in 2000, but some of you choose to vote for an individual who had a history of disrespecting women.

So, if women are to progress in this country, let’s start with the midterms and do your part. Organize voters and support those candidates that are pro choice.

Thank you!

References:

https://guidetoiceland.is/history-culture/gender-equality-in-iceland#:~:text=Women%20make%20up%2066%25%20of%20graduates%20from%20University%2C,Photo%20from%20Wikimedia%2C%20Creative%20Commons%2C%20by%20Magnus%20Fr%C3%B6derberg.

This is why Iceland ranks first for gender equality. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/11/why-iceland-ranks-first-gender-equality/

Chapman, M. Gender Equality in Iceland. https://guidetoiceland.is/history-culture/gender-equality-in-iceland

https://adventures.is/blog/icelandic-women/

Happy Nurses Week!

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The theme for nurse’s week, this year is “You Make a Difference,”. The American Nurses Association (ANA) selected this theme for 2022 to recognize and promote the contributions and positive impact of nurses within our communities (American Nurses Association, 2020). National nurse’s week is celebrated May 6-12.

The pandemic has stressed and over worked nurses these last few years. Many nurses are leaving the profession due to the unseen expectations. Nurses continue to be the most ethical profession for the last 20 years. During this time of alternative facts, strong ethical standards remain an essential element in healthcare. Trust promotes effective communication and expectation between nurses and the public.

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Nurses do make a difference in patient outcomes and healthcare facilities cannot maintain good quality of care without them. I am proud to be a nurse and continue to find enjoyment in assisting others as they maneuver through the healthcare maze.

To my peers and colleagues, I hope you enjoyed Nurses Week, 2022 and remember you do make a difference.

Farming 101: Creating a Garden

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Due to the extensive use of pesticides and cost, many are choosing to grow their own food. Due to space and availability, urban areas are utilizing community gardens.

To create a community garden it involves extensive planning. If that concept is too large for you, create a small garden at home. It is always exciting to see things grow that you have nurtured. If you have children, gardening encourages them to learn about nature and engage in something different and new.

It is getting late in the season for planting but I believe you still have time. Some areas are still experiencing cold weather. I have been rooting my avocado seeds and as they grow into little trees I give them away because I do not have the space for a mature tree.

Experiencing a bit of nature is always a refreshing way to appreciate life and its surrounding. There are also video’s on Instagram and U tube to guide and instruct you on how to grow small gardens of herbs and fruits for personal use.

Happy planting.

References: How to Start a Community Garden

https://www.instructables.com/How-to-create-a-community-garden/

https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/kindergarden/CHILD/COM/COMMUN.HTM

https://www.noble.org/news/publications/ag-news-and-views/2018/april/how-to-start-a-community-garden/

Spring Is Here

Its spring and its a time of renewal. Its time to plant, Its a time for you to start shedding those extra pounds. It is time to let go of stale thinking and create something new.

Change can be challenging especially now as we are emerging from the pandemic. Keep in mind the virus may not be gone but the spring weather as sparked a renewal in the life cycle.

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Flowers, other plants are in bloom, birds are singing, and the air is full of pollen. We use to see bees and butterfly’s but unfortunately I have not seen many of these little creatures in a while. This is the time my friend to renew your mind, body and spirit.

Get out and enjoy the sunshine, especially if you are in the south. This wonderful weather won’t last long. Soon it will be to hot to be outside. Enjoy Life!!

Pilates vs Yoga

Pilates and yoga are exercises that built strength and flexibility.   Pilates increases your core strength,  posture, and can ease back pain.  Yoga can also ease low back and neck pain, improve balance, enhance sleep, eases stress while utilizing mindfulness and meditative movements.  

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I find the difference between Pilates and yoga personal preference.   I enjoy the rapid change in movement with Pilates much more than yoga.  Although both are relaxing and stimulating, yoga utilizes slow and repetitive meditative motions.   

Try something different and add one of these exercise modalities to your routine.  We all can benefit with an increase in strength and flexibility.   Just keeping you informed.

  References

Difference between Pilates and Yoga. WebMD. (2021). https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/difference-between-pilates-and-yoga

High-Fructose

High-fructose corn syrup is a liquid sweetener made from corn, and is sugar that turns into glucose. High-fructose corn syrup was introduced in the 1970s and is cheaper than sugar, has better flavor, longer shelf life, more stable and consistent (WebMD, 2021).  As a result, much of the commercial food you enjoy contain high-fructose to appeal to the consumer.

Fructose is a natural sugar present in fruits, fruit juices, certain vegetables, and honey (Nail, 2021).  In these forms, fructose sugars can be part of a nutritious diet.  The high consumption of foods with high-fructose can contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, high triglycerides (or fat in your blood ie. high cholesterol) and other issues (Anania, 2011).

The following foods contain high-fructose corn syrup:

  • Fast food items
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Bread and baked goods
  • Sweetened dairy products like yogurts
  • Candies 
  • Canned foods like soups and fruit
  • Soft drinks 

Minimize your risk by reading labels, reducing your consumption of foods high in fructose, and making healthy food choices. Home cooked meals are also an excellent alternative to an unhealthy diet. Cooking at home may not be popular or convenient but you will reduce your risk of disease and other health issues related to eating foods made with high-fructose. Remember food is medicine.

Just keeping you informed.

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References

Anania, F.A., (2011). Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and fructose: Bad for us, better for mice.  Journal of Hepatology, 55:1, pp.218-220.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2011.01.029.

Nail, R. (2021). Is Fructose bad for you? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323818

What to Know About High-Fructose Corn Syrup (2021). https://www.webmd.com/diet/what-to-know-about-high-fructose-corn-syrup

American Diabetes Alert Day

The fourth Tuesday in March is Diabetes Alert day. The goal of the American Diabetic Association (ADA) is to educate the public, advocate for research and publish the findings (ADA, 2022). The website offers information on conditions, diet and nutrition.

Diabetes (formerly known as diabetes mellitus) is a condition in which the body is not able to use blood sugar as energy, due either to having too little insulin or being unable to use available insulin (ADA, 2022) There are two types of diabetic conditions, type 1 and type 2.

Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas makes little or no insulin. Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas does not make enough insulin or is unable to effectively use the insulin it makes to convert blood glucose to energy. Type 2 diabetes is less severe than type 1 diabetes, and can be controlled through weight loss, medications (which may include insulin injections), exercise and diet (ADA, 2022). Many who develop diabetes as an adult have type 2.

The lab test hemoglobin A1C is a measurement of your blood sugar for the last three months. This lab test can identify individuals that maybe per-diabetic if the results are between 5.7% and 6.4% (Yuen, 2017). Normal is less than 5. 7%.

Diabetes is increasing in alarming rates all over the world. This maybe due to change in eating habits and lack of physical exercise, especially in children.

Now that you have the information, it is up to you to change your outcome especially if you are a per-diabetic. Change your diet and exercise. Heed to the warning, the results of diabetes can be catastrophic. You can lose a limb, (leg or foot), your vision, kidney function, that results in dialysis or have a stroke or a heart attack. These issues are life threatening and should be taken seriously and will change your quality of life.

Watch you diet and find some type of exercise you enjoy. Your well being and health depend on it. If you do not have the will to make these changes for yourself, think of how this could impact your family if you had a stroke, heart attack, become blind or become a dialysis patient.

Just keeping you informed!

Reference

American Diabetes Association. (2022). https://www.whathealth.com/organizations/a/amdiabetesasc-us.html

Yuen, A. (2017). How reliable is the Hemoglobin A1C. https://www.clinicalcorrelations.org/2017/04/06/how-reliable-is-hemoglobin-a1c/

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March is National Colorectal Awareness Month

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In the United States, colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer-related death in men and women under the age of 50 (Bhandari, Woodhouse, & Gupta, 2017). There has been an increase in colorectal cancer in individuals under the age of 45, due to diet and lifestyle.

It is recommended by the CDC that by the age of 45 everyone should get screened for colorectal cancer. As a result, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended in 2021 the country should invest in preventive care for this issue to insure all have access to CRC screening (Horn & Haas, 2022).

Symptoms include: Change in bowel habits, constipation, diarrhea, and bowel incontinence. blood on or in the stool, unexplained anemia, unusual stomach and or gas pain, weigh loss, fatigue and vomiting.

If you have a family history or notice a change in bowel habits, or are 45 get screened. Once you are screened your physician will determine how often you should return for screening.

Just keeping you informed.

References

Bhandari, A., Woodhouse, M., & Gupta, S. (2017). Colorectal cancer is a leading cause of cancer incidence and mortality among adults younger than 50 years in the USA: a SEER-based analysis with comparison to other young-onset cancers. Journal of Investigative Medicine, 65(2), 311-315.

Horn, D. M., & Haas, J. S. (2022). Expanded Lung and Colorectal Cancer Screening—Ensuring Equity and Safety under New Guidelines. New England Journal of Medicine. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp2113332

Khatri, M (2022). Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/colorectal-cancer/symptoms-colorectal-cancer

https://connecticut.news12.com/march-is-national-colorectal-cancer-awareness-month

International Women’s Day !

International Women’s Day is observed annually on March 8 and celebrates the global “social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women,” according to the International Women’s Day website. The day also calls for action to advance gender equality (Mayorquin, 2022).

The Socialist Party of America first declared National Women’s Day in 1909. It would be observed on the last Sunday of February until 1913. In 1910, at the second International Conference of Working Women, a gathering of women from activist and political organizations in Copenhagen, the idea of an International Women’s Day was proposed and approved (Mayorquin, 2022).

Can you imagine what it would be like to live in a world with gender and race equality? The United States has not been the leader for these issues. The women in this country can all relate to the bias toward women as it relates to the social, economic, cultural and political lack of achievements. In 2022, we still have women claiming to be the first and it is very dismal for women of the global majority.

The best performers in this endeavor are the Nordic countries, who have frequently monopolized the top spots in the ranking, and 2020 was no exception. Just below second-placed Norway was Finland and Sweden. In fifth place was Nicaragua, followed by New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, Rwanda and Germany. The most-improved countries were Albania, Ethiopia, Mali, Mexico and Spain. The United States fell two spots and is now 53rd in 2020. The world’s second-largest economy, China also fell and is 106th place (Hutt, 2019).

The theme for 2022 is #BreakTheBias and asks the world to call out instances of bias against women in various venues, that include the workplace, school and at home. You can show your support for this year’s theme by posting selfies to social media posing with your arms crossed with the hashtags #BreaktheBias and #IWD2022 (Mayorquin, 2022).

Just keeping you informed!

References

Hutt, R. (2019). These 10 countries are closest to achieving gender equality. World Economic Forum. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/12/gender-gap-equality-women-parity-countries/

International Women”s Day. (2022). https://www.internationalwomensday.com/

Mayorquin, O. (2022). What to know about International Women’s Day and the theme for 2022. https://news.yahoo.com/breakthebias-know-international-womens-day-191012536.html?fr=yhssrp_catchall

March is National Nutrition Month

This is the time to start looking at your diet. You have several months before spring to get yourself in good physical shape before summer. This is the time.

Healthy eating starts with preparation, and should include fruits and vegetables. Add some exercise and you have a great receipt for success.

I have a few tips to help you on this journey. Prepare your food the night before to ensure you always have nutritious food to consume. Find a picture of your former self, and place it on the bathroom mirror and or the refrigerator. This picture will serve as a constant reminder of your goal. Find several exercises that you enjoy, so you can participate at least three days per week. Finally ask yourself, why is this goal important? Many times we complete these goals for family and others, but do this for yourself.

You can do this, I have faith in you.

Reference

March is National Nutrition Month. https://easternstates.heart.org/socialmedia/nutritionmonth/

What is your Super Power?

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This is February 2022 and we have been isolating off and on for the past two years. It has been a time of reflection for many or additional stress and or trauma for others. I have been in a self reflection mode trying to decide what am I going to concentrate on this year. I have so many interest and projects I have started and not completed over the years.

I want to start a new project but was asked what I was good at, and to ask others. It has been interesting to get the responses from my friends. We all know where we do not excel and many would love to share your deficiencies with you, but, why be negative.

My friends thought I was selfless, dedicated, loyal, great communicator, honest and empathic, compassionate but firm, great at identifying problems with solutions. I was humbled.

Take some time to reflect on your strengths, we all have them. Sometimes you need a reminder of how wonderful and awesome you really are. We all have a sphere of influence and can contribute something positive to others, even if its a kind word. The world can use some positivity and love right now and it can start with you.

Use your super power and be an example of compassion and understanding. A small ripple of kindness and love can effect humanity in small ways.

Nurses Use Your Voice!

As a registered nurse I feel I have credibility. Nurse are the voice and advocates for patients utilizing the healthcare system around the world. We care for patients in various areas of the healthcare spectrum from life to death. It can be a humbling experience. For the last 19 years, patients have rated nurses the most ethical and honest of all professions (ANA, 2021). Never the less, nurses are being abused in the workplace by patients, families and others.

As nurses continue to labor through the pandemic, hospitals have decided they want Congress to intervene and cap the pay for travel nurses. Many in Congress have signed on to the idea. As CEO’s are making millions of dollars in salaries and bonuses, nurses are leaving the bedside. Surely they can share the wealth and compensate their largest workforce. Hospitals can not operate without nurses.

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Use your voice to correct those spouting false information. Educate the public when you can and do not let anyone diminish your light. Although nursing can be a thankless job, acknowledge the stress, laugh and keep going, because that’s what nurses do.

Congress needs to hear from YOU regarding issues that affect the profession, this includes the wage gap, toxic work environments, and nurse patient ratios. California has lead the way in some of these issues and the rest of the country has to catch up. Although we are millions strong we seem not to have a voice, and those who hold the purse strings are not listening.

Just keeping you informed!

References

American Nurse (Feb.2021). Trust in nation’s nurses rise during pandemic. 16 (2) 35.

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